North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Experts Debate Implications of Study Showing Huge Pay Gap Between Private and Public Workers

August 19, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Policy wonks and analysts who seek to optimize the North Carolina workers’ compensation system often try to ground their arguments in statistics. With new studies and new information coming out all the time, it’s often difficult to come to any clear conclusions about what direction to take the states workers’ comp system. But a recent study reported in the August 2nd issue of the Raleigh Telegram highlights some very interesting numbers.

The Civitas Institute in Raleigh reported that the gap between the incomes of public and private sector workers in NC has doubled since 2000. Back at the turn of the century, state employees got paid approximately $32,800 annually; whereas private workers got around $30,977. This represented around a 6% gap. Nine years later, that gap rose to more than 12% – state employees received over $44,100 annually, while private employees averaged around $39,300. And these figures don’t take into account benefits packages, which could theoretically skew the gap between public and private incomes even wider.

So what do these new numbers mean for North Carolina workers’ compensation policy? The conservative Civitas Institute appears to be implying that state workers “have it too good.” But the survey doesn’t suggest an immediate fix to ensure fairness and to nurture and cultivate conditions that would reduce injuries at work and generally relieve the state system of financial stress.

Some experts argue that the ultimate key to resolving both the wage gap outlined here and the general stresses on the benefit system is to introduce more responsive and proactive policies to improve workplace safety. In particular, it may be helpful to strive to reduce chronic and preventable injuries like typing injuries by doing things like instituting mandatory break policies, standards for ergonomic desks and typewriters, and urging employers and employees alike to cut back on the amount of sugar they consume.

If you or someone you love – or a co-worker – has been hurt, and you have questions about hot to collect benefits, how to deal with an employer who refused to cooperative, or how to manage a bad faith insurer, look to an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to lead you in a strategic direction.

More Web Resources

Civitas Institute

Study Shows Pay Gap Between NC Public And Private Workers Doubles


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